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Seventeen Governments Adopt the New International Open Data Charter

Web Foundation · October 29, 2015

Chile, Guatemala, France, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Uruguay; Buenos Aires, Minatitlán, Municipality of Puebla, Municipality of Veracruz,  Montevideo, Reynosa, State of Morelos and Xalapa make historic commitment to Open Data at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Mexico.

More than half a billion citizens to enjoy economic and social benefits resulting from more open, responsive government.  


Open government data – the practice of openly publishing key datasets for anyone to analyse and reuse – is rapidly gaining traction as a tool for enhancing democracy, fighting corruption and driving economic growth. Today, nine countries and eight local governments have become the first in the world to adopt a new, collaboratively built International Open Data Charter, and will embed the Charter’s key principles and practices into their policies and public services. This development comes just weeks after world leaders agreed on new ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ for the next fifteen years, including a pledge ‘to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’. As part of their adoption pledge, these nations have committed to time-bound actions and transparent measurement of their progress.

The Charter consists of six key principles, namely, that government data must be: 1) Open by Default; 2) Timely and Comprehensive; 3) Accessible and Usable; 4) Comparable and Interoperable; 5) For Improved Governance and Citizen Engagement; 6) For Inclusive Development and Innovation. These principles were arrived at through an extensive and global on and offline consultation process, with expert meetings and hundreds of public comments being synthesised and translated into the final version of an international Open Data Charter. To ensure these principles are translated into reality – with data published openly and used by all – the Charter also includes specific actions, practical advice and guidance on implementation. A robust, independent measurement process will be put in place, ensuring adopting governments are held to their promises. The Charter’s ongoing development is being overseen by a group of lead stewards, drawn from the worlds of government, civil society and the private sector.

Further announcements are expected at the G20 and COP21 gatherings later this year, where the Charter will feature Open Data as a key tool to tackle corruption and climate change. Meanwhile, though only national, regional or local governments can formally adopt the charter, 14 civil society and multilateral organisations including the World Bank, Omidyar Network, the World Wide Web Foundation and Canada’s International Development Research Centre have also backed the Charter, and will work to further its spread and assist countries with implementation.


Speaking at the adoption ceremony of the international Open Data Charter, Alejandra Lagunes, Coordinator of the National Digital Strategy from Mexico said:

“We are delighted to part of the first group of nations to adopt this Charter, and call on all governments to Open Data to help us make better informed decisions to improve lives.”


Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, and founding director of the Web Foundation, which is serving as a lead steward of the charter, said:

“To achieve the goals of sustainable development, critical data must be open and available for reuse by anyone, anywhere, anytime. The international Open Data Charter has the potential to accelerate progress by placing actionable data in the hands of people.”


Jean Lebel, President of the International Development Research Centre, said:

“It is important that all open data initiatives, including our own, contribute to sustainable development and address issues such as innovation, privacy, and the needs of marginalized communities. The Open Data Charter is an important collaborative effort that will address these key issues, and set the stage for international cooperation by setting principles, encouraging learning, and establishing best practices to create an open, inclusive and sustainable data revolution. IDRC is proud to have supported and contributed to the development of this Charter. ”


Martin Tisné, Director of Policy of Omidyar Network, added:

“The Open Data Charter is a huge opportunity for the open data community to become even more relevant to people’s lives by cooperating with the sustainable development goals community, the anti corruption community and many more. We are excited about its tremendous potential.”


Prof. Sanjeev Khagram, Occidental College and Coordinator of the International Open Data Charter and the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data said:

“The International Open Data Charter is an achievement of global significance.  The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals will require full harnessing the data revolution to improve policy-making, empower citizens, and foster innovation and entrepreneurship.  The openness of data is fundamental to truly unlocking the data revolution to achieve sustainable development.”


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Endorsing organisations

  • AVINA Foundation
  • Center for Open Data Enterprise
  • IBM
  • IDRC
  • Omidyar Network
  • Open Data Institute
  • Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Open Youth
  • Red Gealc
  • Sunlight Foundation
  • World Bank
  • World Wide Web Foundation
  • Young Innovations


Quotes in support of the Charter from around the world


“We are delighted to be part of the first group of nations to adopt this Charter, and call on all governments to Open Data to help us make better informed decisions to improve lives.”

– Alejandra Lagunes, Coordinator of the National Digital Strategy


United Kingdom

“Transparency and openness is at the heart of the UK Government’s agenda. We want to see transparency and innovation hard wired into governance because it empowers the public and drives improvements by holding organisations to account.

I applaud the work of the OGP in creating a network to share best practice and ideas, and the UK is determined to work with its fellow member states to drive through reforms in crucial areas such as open data and beneficial property ownership.”

– Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General Matt Hancock



“As a firm advocate of transparency and open governance, the Philippine government seeks to adopt the Open Data Charter.”

– Edwin Lacierda, Presidential Spokesperson



“Recognizing that human beings lie at the core of State policies -both as individuals and as a community-, Uruguay renewed its commitment to a more inclusive, transparent and accountable society to its citizens, abiding by the principles and values set out in the Charter.”



“Adopting the International Data Charter will allow Guatemala to improve decision-making at state and local level in order to have a better relationship with society.”


Buenos Aires

“For Buenos Aires open data is one of the most fundamental assets for empowering the entrepreneurship ecosystem, foster innovation and deliver better services, while being a transparent and accountable government. We believe the OD Charter will help empower the already running OD Initiatives and create a momentum for those governments that are not already opening up their data, to do so.”

– Andrés Ibarra, Minister



“The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative supports global efforts to make agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available,
accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide.”


World Bank Group

“The World Bank Group is ready to support countries that adopt the Charter with its implementation, through our support for open data (and open government) in developing countries around the world.”



“People can only learn when information is Open, Available, and Trustworthy. Adoption of the Open Data Charter is an important step forward for committing nations, organizations, and every citizen of the world.”


Fundación Avina

“For Fundación Avina, open data is a key element to create social impact by facilitating effective online-offline strategy by civil society in Latin America.”


Young Innovations Nepal

“Adoption of Open Data Charter can help facilitate this ecosystem by connecting all stakeholders in a more constructive and organized environment.”


Open Youth

“Open Youth recognize the Open Data Charter as a framework by which cross-border cooperation and innovation from below can emerge, and that facilitates the participation of young people in open government projects.”


Centre for Open Data Enterprise

“The Open Data Charter is the most comprehensive roadmap yet for putting this data to use as a global resource. As governments adopt and implement the Charter, we’ll begin to realize the economic and social value of open data more widely and rapidly.”

– Joel Gurin, President, Center for Open Data Enterprise

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